Edit: Unfortunately I never discovered the answer to my question. Pretty much stalled out after that.
I've started here (http://qgroundcontrol.org/dev/mavlink_arduino_integration_tutorial) and have read around the forums and had a few additional questions.
This tutorial seems to be about the MAVLink data being sent to a GCS. I do see the portion about receiving data, but I'm confused at how I'm going to connect the arduino to the UART on the APM. I want this arduino to be the GCS, meaning it simply receives a few parameters and posts them via serial...at least to start. Most also communicate via Xbee. Is it possible to communicate via wired connection?
Am I on the right track in learning how to obtain MAVLink data from the APM to an arduino? Is there something that I'm missing?